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Commonwealth's Counties

Helpful legislation on jail funding introduced

SB 966 (Peake) provides that the state must compensate local jails for the actual cost of incarcerating state-responsible offenders, as calculated in the Compensation Board’s annual Jail Cost Report.  VACo supports this legislation.

Currently, in addition to state support for jail staffing provided through the Compensation Board, the state provides a per-diem payment to assist with the costs of housing incarcerated individuals.  These rates are differentiated by whether an individual is classified as a local-responsible or state-responsible inmate.  A state-responsible inmate is an individual who has been convicted of one or more felony offenses and sentenced to one year or more.  A local-responsible inmate is an individual arrested on a state warrant and incarcerated in a local correctional facility prior to trial, convicted of a misdemeanor offense and sentenced to a term in a local correctional facility, or convicted of a felony offense and given an effective sentence of one year or less.

During the 2022 General Assembly session, the state-responsible rate was increased from $12 to $15 – the first increase since FY 2011.  VACo strongly supported this additional funding and is grateful for the increase, which is a vital step toward more robust state support for jail operations.  Additional state support remains important, however, as the 2021 Jail Cost Report shows an average local expenditure per inmate per day of $59.03.  While the numbers of state-responsible offenders in local jails have declined significantly in recent months, it is important for the state to compensate local jails for the costs of housing and caring for these individuals.

SB 966 has been referred to the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee and has not yet been heard.

HB 1524 (Coyner) and SB 820 (Favola) would create the Virginia Opioid Use Reduction and Jail-Based Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Transition Fund, which would provide grants to local and regional jails for planning and implementation of locally administered jail-based addiction recovery and substance use disorder treatment and transition programs.  HB 1524 has not yet been assigned to a committee.  SB 820 was heard by the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee on January 13 and reported and referred to the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee.  VACo spoke in support of the bill, pointing out that requirements for substance use disorder screening and treatment are components of the behavioral health standards that are currently under consideration by the Board of Local and Regional Jails, and that additional state support will help local and regional jails to comply with these standards when they are put in place.

VACo appreciates the work of the patrons of these bills and their support for additional resources for local and regional jails.

VACo Contact:  Katie Boyle

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